Vicala -- the name is short for "Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian" -- was meant to be a Pan-Asian restaurant. But ultimately its Vietnamese chef and owners opted to stick to their strength: an elegantly plated, creatively conceived style they deem "nouveau Vietnamese." This encompasses customized summer rolls, lobster-and-calamari seviche, lemongrass-seared beef carpaccio, and scallops satay, served in a hip Alphabet City setting and accompanied by an international array of wines, all available by the glass.
111 Avenue C
· Cuisine: Vietnamese
Zazen is the Zen Buddhist term for "sitting meditation," and in the evening hours, the undiscovered Zazen is quiet and underpopulated enough to make you feel like a practitioner. Undeservedly so: The kitchen, under Nobu veteran Chia Shirahata, turns out some of New York's most delicious and least contrived Asian fusion fare, like yuan-marinated Chilean sea bass in a painterly pool of mustard-miso sauce (pictured, right), and moist, thyme-scented teriyaki chicken with spinach spaetzle. There are small tasting plates of shrimp-stuffed shiitake mushrooms, miso-marinated black cod, and spicy grilled short ribs, plus a sushi bar and a comfy lounge suitable for an advanced level of meditation.
29 West 21st Street
· Cuisine: Pan-Asian
Fraunces Tavern survived a
revolution, a FALN bombing, and decades of lukewarm reviews.
This week, after a $2 million makeover, it reopens to
its biggest challenge yet: an irrevocably altered lower
Manhattan and a conspicuous lack of pedestrian traffic.
But the outbreak of flag-waving patriotism just might
bring more than tourists to try Kenneth Pulomena's all-American
menu of Sherman sherried eggs, Yankee pot roast, prime
rib with Yorkshire pudding, and New England seafood stew.
54 Pearl Street
· Cuisine: Classic American
not a comprehensive listing, here are a few dining spots
that have bid adieu...
Avenue, at 8th Street
41st Street, at The Dylan Hotel
Park Avenue, at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
350 Hudson Street
267 W. 4th Street
351 Second Avenue
206 Spring St., 212-653-0100
Set-up: Tri-level space in SoHo with exterior
glass elevator and 130 seats
Chef: Michael White (formerly at the four-star
Spiaggia in Chicago and chef di cucina at Ristorante
San Domenico in Imola, Italy)
Owners: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Blue
Water Grill, Park Avalon, Ruby
630 Ninth Ave at 44th St.,
Set-up: Two-story, 4000 square-foot space designed
in 1940's French-Moroccan style with zinc bar and ebonized
Chef: Alex Urena (Blue
Owners: Simon Oren (Sushi
Samba, Le Express, Maritime)
Minnow, 442 Ninth St.,
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Set-up: Cozy 60-seat space with exposed brick
walls, hardwood floors and private garden.
Cuisine: Eclectic American/Seafood
Chef: Aaron Bashy (Slate,
Owners: Aaron Bashy and wife, Vicki (Former pastry
chef at Boston's Four Seasons Hotel)
Harrison, 355 Greenwich
Set-up: Designer Mark Zeff creates a 100-seat
dining room filled with wainscoting, handmade chandeliers,
and a walnut bar. Nine French doors will open onto the
street, with an additional 40 seats available for sidewalk
Cuisine: Eclectic American
Chef: Joey Campanaro (protégé of Jonathan Waxman)
Owners: Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams (The
109 Ludlow St., 212-982-5714
Set-up: Subterreanean, multi-level grotto with
moat, underwater lamps, and floor-to-ceiling glass-paneled
doors. Designed by Andre Kikoski.
Chef: Stephane Bucholzer (L'Actuel)
Owners: Yann De Rochefort and Phillip Morgan
Set-up: Situated in the highly-anticipated
W Times Square Hotel, this 400-seater will have
a floating staircase connecting its two levels and a
killer view of the Great White Way.
Chef: Paul Sale (Icon at W Court Hotel)
Owners: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Isabella's,
Smoke, 116 East 27th
Set-up: Jazz joint with a built-in barbecue pit
at former 27 Standard space.
Chef: Pitmaster Kenny Callaghan (Sous Chef, Union
Owners: Danny Meyer (Gramercy
Square Cafe, Eleven
Hear about a restaurant opening? Post an announcement
- even a rumor - in the
of October 1
Bodum Café & Homestore, Blue Grotto, Notable closings
of September 24
of September 17
Tarallucci e Vino, Salute!, Cicchetti Bar at Scopa
of September 10
Bid, Long Tan, Enoteca at Sapori d'Ischia
Photos: Patrik Rytikangas.